Parsons’ Choral Music Recorded in London
March 2, 2007
The two day recording of Robert Parsons’ choral music took place on the 9th and 10th of February, 2007. Parsons preceded William Byrd and Henry Purcell at the Chapel Royal, his life spanning the period of musical upheaval during the Reformation. Consequently, and in the same vein as his successors, his works include both Latin and English text settings.
Opening with his longest work, the Magnificat set to Latin text, and closing with arguably his most beautiful setting, Ave Maria, the main body of the recording is held together by the First ‘Great’ Service, based on the 1549 Prayer Book text. This is interspersed with three anthems set to texts from the funeral service. Parsons, who drowned at Newark upon Trent aged 42, is a subject of contention as his compositional style bears an uncanny resemblance to Byrd’s, whose works thrived whilst Parsons’ were buried.
This unique programme was sung by Voces Cantabiles, an international award winning chamber choir founded in 2003, under the artistic direction of Barnaby Smith. The group has been hailed for their ‘exhilarating freshness of sound, unanimity of ensemble…, superb diction’ and ‘clear and sensitive singing’ (International Record Review and Gramophone). The Choir has toured extensively in Europe, appearing on national television and radio in Spain, Italy, Germany, Slovenia and the UK.
The recording was produced by Michael Ponder at All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London.